KOCHI: By allowing Swapna Suresh, accused of smuggling gold, to use his office premises to launch a tirade against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his family members, the Highrange Rural Development Society (HRDS) courted the controversial. Although the leaders of the organization insist that it is an apolitical social service organization working for the welfare of the tribal community and women, it is still shrouded in confusion.
The organisation’s project director, Biju Krishnan, is a former leader of the BDJS, a BJP ally in Kerala. A former secretary of SNDP Yogam’s Thodupuzha union, he contested Idukki’s parliamentary election as an NDA candidate in 2019. However, he later left BDJS and no longer holds any position in SNDP Yogam. Swami Antma Nambi is the organization’s president and KG Venugopal, a former RSS pracharak, is its vice-president.
Aji Krishnan, the organization’s honorary secretary, works in Dubai. “We have been involved in social work in the country for 27 years and we have no political affiliation. We have people with various political affiliations but that does not influence our activities. We have implemented various projects for women empowerment and tribal welfare in Palakkad, Wayanad and Idukki. The allegations are politically motivated and we don’t want to react to them,” said Joy Mathew, the organization’s chief project coordinator. According to him, a veteran journalist, now based in Dubai, had asked to provide Swapna with a job after his release from prison.
“Swapna was in deep crisis because her accounts were frozen by the government and she had no income to raise her children. We asked her to send in her profile and after getting approval from the board, we appointed her director in charge of financing CSR and women’s empowerment. Sarith was named the organization’s PRO. They did not acquire enormous wealth, although they were accused of smuggling gold. The government absolved Sivasankar, an IAS officer, of all charges and reinstated him. So why should we deny livelihoods to these people,” Joy Mathew asked.
Asked whether to allow Swapna to use the office premises to hold a press conference against the CM and also allow him to use the office car for his personal use, he said the organization would not not interfere in his personal problems. met the media at the HRDS gate as journalists came here to meet her. She will face the case against her and we do not agree with her view,” Joy Mathew said.
However, the head of DYFI, KS Arun Kumar, said that HRDS had been involved in the implementation of various projects for the RSS. “They have implemented housing projects for the RSS in Wayanad and upmarket areas,” he said. said BJP or RSS had no connection with HRDS. “I spent more than a decade of my political life in Palakkad but I never heard of this organization,” he said.